Can a mage cast spells that they don’t have as a rote/praxis?

From what I can read in the rulebook, there are three main ways to cast a spell:

  • Improvised spells, which always have a set of general effects.
  • Rotes, which treat the highest arcanum as 5 dots for the purposes of Reach, cost no mana and allow the caster to use mudras as yantras.
  • Praxes, which also cost no mana and crit success on 3 successes.

Did I miss a part of the book that describes how to cast existing spells outside these 3 ways? If so, please point me to the right section of the book.

Can Mage Hand wield a Shield?

I’m a caster with Mage Hand, and am wondering if I could use it with a regular Shield to create an ad-hoc Floating Shield.

I ask because:

  • Shields provide +2 AC but weigh 6lbs
  • Mage hand has a weight limit of 10lbs, and a range of 30ft

Would this provide an extra 2 AC to me so long as I have it floating in the same space as myself?

If I move it into an ally’s space, would they then get the 2 AC bonus? What if they’re already wielding a shield themselves?

Mage Slayer advantage vs. non-Instantaneous spells

The Mage Slayer feat provides the following benefit, amongst others:

You have advantage on saving throws against spells cast by creatures within 5 feet of you.

For spells with a duration of instantaneous, it’s clear when this effect occurs – when the creature is within 5 feet of you, and casts a spell you need to make a saving throw against.

What about spells with longer durations, where the casting and you making the save might not be at the same moment? Examples might be Evard’s Black Tentacles, or Thunderous Smite. Does the creature need to be within 5 feet of you (a) when they cast the spell, or (b) when you make the saving throw (or both)?

Dragon Age RPG: Can a Mage Bind Spirits to Items Like Cannons?

My experience is limited to the Dragon Age games and a few RPG books (namely, a 2015 Core Rulebook, Players’ and GM’s Guide v1.2) and I’ve played Inquisition as an attempt to prime myself to write an adventure in the setting.

I want a Tevinter Mage to assault a Qunari-held Fortress with the aid of magic shell-loaded gunpowder cannons. In essence, it’d be Magical Spellslinging, except mortar-sized… with a potential endgame being a rush to prevent the development and application of Artillery-sized weapons. … Possibly, "Big Bertha" level arms’ race escalation.

My question is this: I’ve seen that Rebel Mages in Inquisition would carry spellbooks upon which they had trapped spirits of the Fade and commanded them. Could spirits be bound to a cannon? Or to the shells themselves? What sort of repercussion would the developer of such devices have to contend with? Would the Chantry put a Holy Crusade against him/her/it? Would Tevinter back, either officially or unofficially, such an idea? And would the Qunari in particular employ any and all methods to cease such research, due to their innate distrust of all things magical?

Can an Eldritch Knight use a Ruby of the War Mage?

As explained in How does an arcane focus work with an Eldritch Knight?, Eldritch Knights can’t use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus.

Ruby of the War Mage (XGtE p. 138), however, states:

Etched with eldritch runes, this 1-inch-diameter ruby allows you to use a simple or martial weapon as a spellcasting focus for your spells. […]

This paragraph doesn’t mention anything about arcane foci or anything like that, but straight up says that you can use the weapon as a spellcasting focus; the only requirement being that you are a spellcaster (which is true for Eldritch Knights).

Can you use this magic item to circumvent the otherwise existent restriction to component pouches for Eldritch Knights? Or am I missing some rule that disallows this "trick" / workaround?

Differences between Mage Hand, Unseen Servant and Find Familiar [closed]

I’m playing LMoP at the moment as a player and I’m trying to see reasons why a player would choose Unseen Servant over Find Familiar. Related question – what makes Unseen Servant worth taking instead of Mage Hand?

Here’s a small comparison table I’ve created when I was trying to figure it out. I do understand that different DMs can rule things differently, but still I’m looking for opinions.

Mage Hand Unseen Servant Find Familiar
Casting time action action/10 minutes 1 hour
Casting cost 0 gp 0 gp 10 gp
Duration 1 minute 1 hour until killed/dispelled
Command time action bonus action free action
Multiple no yes no
Help action no no yes
Carrying capacity 10 lbs 60 lbs 90 lbs (depends on Str)
Movement 30 ft 15 ft 60 ft
Separate initiative no no yes
Scout no no yes
Drop items in combat yes yes yes
Open doors yes yes no
Delivering spells no no yes
Invisible no yes no

Does the Telekinetic feat also increase the distance you can move the mage hand?

The Telekinetic feat from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything says the following:

You learn the mage hand cantrip…. if you already know this spell, it’s range increase by 30 feet when you cast it.

Mage Hand has a range of 30 feet, and says the following:

The hand vanishes if it is ever more than 30 feet away from you or if you cast this spell again.

Does this mean that even though the range for Mage Hand is now 60 feet, if you cast it beyond 30 feet, it still disappears?
Also, Mage Hand says the following:

You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

Can you still only move it 30 feet? Or can you move it 60?

What’s the nature of the entity summoned by mage hand?

What does a mage hand look like?

⁢According to Player’s Handbook, mage hand is a conjuration cantrip available to bard, sorcerer, warlock and wizard, that summons "a spectral, floating hand".

But what exactly am I conjuring? Is it a ghost, a construct made out of raw force, my astral/ethereal/etc body part? Do I choose the side of the hand (left or right)? Could you summon other body parts or something more abstract (like a force tentacle from the ground)?

I have many questions about the lore side of this spell in D&D, so my question is focused on sourcebooks. Thank you

Is a 1st-level sha’ir/1st-level anima mage possible?

It’s possible for a 1st-level character to qualify for the anima mage prestige class (Tome of Magic) by taking 4 ranks in Intimidate along with Bind Vestige (ibid), Improved Bind Vestige (ibid), Precocious Apprentice (Complete Arcane), and any one metamagic feat. Accruing all those feats requires a bonus racial feat (e.g. human) as well as two flaws (Unearthed Arcana). This is discussed in detail here.

Noted there, however, is the requirement that you have Intimidate as a class skill—and you can’t get it from a feat (even if you had another feat to spare) because feats are selected last in the character-creation process, after your skills are already decided. And in any event, this character doesn’t have another feat to spare.

This is a problem because sha’ir—the class I’d like to take into anima mage—lacks Intimidate as a class skill (Dragon Compendium). Wizards are able to get around this limitation by being enchanters who take the social proficiency alternate class feature (Unearthed Arcana), but as far as I know, there is nothing similar for sha’ir.

Barring high shenanigans like level drain abuse, retraining misuse, or manipulate form in its entirety, is there any way for a 1st-level sha’ir to qualify for anima mage, and wind up a 1st-level sha’ir/1st-level anima mage? This must actually be an ECL 2nd character, so RHD or LA are out.

What I’m basically hoping for is that I’m wrong that there’s no ACF that works for sha’ir here, or else to find out that there’s some way, perhaps, to cause 2 cross-class ranks in Intimidate to retroactively become 4 (while still being 1st level). Stuff for bonus ranks would work, only I’m pretty sure there’s only one of those in the game (and it would require two more feats in any event).

Any 3.5e materials published either by Wizards of the Coast or in Dragon or Dungeon magazines (including 3e material in the same that would be legal in a 3.5e game) is legal. Anything that requires leveling up within a narrow window is heavily frowned upon. Any outside assistance (including magic items created by others) must come from a legal E6 character.

Was Dweomercore created for Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage?

Did Dweomercore, Halaster’s magic academy in Undermountain, exist in any published Forgotten Realms lore prior to Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage? If so, where? Or was Dweomercore created for Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage?

A web search doesn’t turn up much, but here is one online post that states, "In older lore, I recall Trobriand actually set up Dweomercore…"